MAINSTREAMING POLITICAL DIALOGUE, A KEY TO MORE INCLUSIVE PEACE
- Enpold Bangsamoro
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EnPolD Bangsamoro is a three-year project that provides a credible arena for political dialogue to build consensus and ownership of the political reforms and peace process as key to sustainable and inclusive peace.
The project also facilitates political dialogue between and among the Bangsamoro key stakeholders and national political institutions towards the implementation of all signed peace agreements alongside legal and constitutional reforms and the proposed shift to a federal Philippines.
Recognizing the Important role of Youth
In Basilan, more than 20 youth leaders shared their views and insights on the current political developments in the country on November 18, 2018 at Isabela City, Basilan.
The dialogue provided an arena for the youth leaders to understand and freely express their positions and perceptions of the current political development issues in the country – particularly, apprehensions and concerns in the establishment of the future Bangsamoro government vis-à-vis the pursuit of changing the government form to a federal set-up.
FocusinG on the set-up of the establishment of a new government system, the participants expressed support whatever system of government the country may pursue. They also believe that the only solution to help the country progress and achieve greater development is through electing just and genuine leaders that will not fail the people again.
“We are aware of the current situation we are facing today, whatever the set-up of government we might have, what we really need is good leaders that will help our country, our region to develop,” stressed one of the participants.
Likewise, prevailing issues and concerns related to the vulnerability of the youth to likely engage in violent extremism and terrorism were also tackled. Substantive sharing of inputs and discussions were hailed from the dialogue that resulted to youth leaders assuring their active involvement in counteracting the recruitment of other youths in joining and engaging in the extremist ideologies.
The activity was facilitated by the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance Inc. (ZABIDA), a Zamboanga based partner organization of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance for the EnPolD Bangsamoro project.
Involving Religious Groups
Another political dialogue in Basilan concluded the next day involving other key stakeholder in the Bangsamoro, the religious sector.
The project through ZABIDA provided an arena for the different religious groups in the aforementioned province to be involved in the knowledge-sharing and positions related to political reforms and peace processes in the country.
The discussions centered on the BBL and the Federalism track as current political reforms and tools for moving the peace process forward. Alongside the discussion, some apprehensions of the group were raised, which include the expression of the traditional religious leaders on the concerns and fears of their community, especially Non-Moro communities, on common assumptions and questions on what will happen to them, to their family, and to their land if the BBL pushes through.
Furthermore, the apprehensions and misconceptions of the group were able to address through extensive exchange of factual information and updates on the political reforms of the government, as well as the peace and security issues in the region.
Harnessing women’s voices
How can women help in moving the peace process forward? The Bangsamoro Women Services Center (BWSC) continues to involve more women in the series of sectoral focus group discussion in the Island Provinces of ARMM.
BWSC is a Cotabato-based partner of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance in implementing the project EnPolD Bangsamoro in the region. Predominantly, the organization focuses on the involvement of women in all political developments discussion, and strengthening women’s capacity and leadership in the Bangsamoro.
They recently embarked series of focus group discussion and dialogue from November 15-26, 2018 among women leaders in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, particularly involving different women’s group (such as MILF, MNLF, CSOs, and etc) in the areas mentioned.
Consequently, there are various sentiments and issues raised in the dialogues. Some women front leaders shared their disappointments on the long decade of negotiations and peace process the Bangsamoro is currently facing.
One woman leader said, “The problem in the peace agreements entered by the Bangsamoro is its long decade of negotiation and up until now what we hope and wish for are not yet being granted”.
Despite the disappointment, the hopes and aspirations overshadowed. “We should be united, until now what we aim for the Bangsamoro is not being granted because we are not united. We, in the Bangsamoro should unite with one goal and one heart,” expressed one participant.
Throughout the series of FGDs, the participants believe that their constant involvement in the political development discourse in the country will help them to be empowered and create at least small arenas of dialogues in their own communities in order to help uniting the Bangsamoro, and later build a consensus understanding and ownership in the political reforms in the region to achieve a sustainable and inclusive peace.
The EnPolD Bangsamoro project will continue to involve the key stakeholders in the Bangsamoro into dialogue and knowledge sharing activities that will help in shaping an inclusive peace for all.